Reverend William Barber Leads Moral Monday Action At US Capitol

Washington DC — Community organizers and faith leaders from 33 States converged on the U.S. Capitol to demand passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 4) and the Build Back Better Bill (H.R. 5376), now pending Senate approval. They chastised West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin for his role in delaying passage of the legislation which would provide protection for voting rights and financial relief for millions of impoverished Americans.

Reverend William Barber called out Senator Joe Manchin by name for playing a “trick” on his constituents by delaying a vote in the Senate on the voting rights bill. Barber said that by delaying the vote until March it would give State legislatures time to gerrymander districts and allow passage of more restrictive voting laws.

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Reverend William Barber Leads Moral Monday March For Voting Rights

On Monday August 2, 2021, Reverend William Barber II walked alongside Jesse Jackson leading several thousand on a revival of that same moral imperative. Their Moral Monday March was to demand that Congress restore the Voting Rights Act, signed by President Johnson on August 8, 1965, by passing the For The People Act, legislation which will strike down at the Federal level, all new voting restrictions passed in States like Georgia, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, and Arizona.

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Nonviolent Protest Over Voting Rights Ends With Arrests In DC

Activists with the national Poor People’s Campaign were arrested Wednesday after blocking a street in front of the Hart Senate building in Washington, D.C. to demand passage of the For the People Act, a popular voting rights expansion bill that Republicans successfully filibustered just 24 hours earlier.

After rallying in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, hundreds of low-wage workers, faith leaders, and advocates—including residents of West Virginia, Kentucky, and several other states—marched to the nearby Senate building to demand meetings with Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), two key opponents of the For the People Act.

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The US Undercounts People In Poverty By 106 Million

Suppose the total annual income of a family composed of a mother, father, great-aunt, and two children living outside of a major metropolitan area came to $32,000 in 2019. Although their income might be significantly lower than the average among similarly-sized households in the region, the U.S. wouldn’t have included them in the official count of American families living in poverty.

Families of their size and composition only would have been considered impoverished in 2019 if their earnings fell below $31,275. Since this hypothetical family earned $725 more, they wouldn’t have been considered poor.

Scenarios like this one found among real American families are behind new advocacy to change how the U.S. government defines poverty.

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A New Nonviolent Medicaid Army Is On The March

Across the United States, poor and dispossessed people cannot wait for our politicians to act. This week, in states including Kansas, Maine, Alabama, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Vermont, and Pennsylvania, people are coming together in “Medicaid Marches” to demand their right to health and healthcare.

They know that Black people are dying at twice the rate of white people and that poverty is the highest risk factor for people of all races. They know that the United States now accounts for over 20 percent of worldwide deaths, despite having only 5 percent of the world’s population and that this was entirely preventable.

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Over One Million People View Poor People’s Assembly And Moral March On Washington

President Trump drew a smaller crowd than he expected for his rally this past Saturday, but that wasn’t the case for the Poor People’s Campaign. Well more than a million people viewed the campaign’s Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington via Facebook that same day. Many more viewed MSNBC and C-SPAN simulcasts and two repeat broadcasts over the weekend.

According to organizers, the three and a half hour event was “the largest digital and social media gathering of poor and low-wealth people, moral and religious leaders, advocates, and people of conscience in this nation’s history.”

The virtual rally lifted up people who are living the interconnected injustices that have been the campaign’s focus for the past two years: systemic racism, poverty and inequality, ecological devastation, and militarism and the war economy. Many spoke of how the Covid-19 pandemic has only deepened existing inequalities.

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Poor People’s Moral Budget: Everybody Has The Right To Live

In April 2018, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival released a Moral Agenda and Declaration of Fundamental Rights. The demands contained within that document present a comprehensive response to the systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism, and war economy plaguing our country today. For the 140 million people who are poor, or one emergency away from being poor, we know these demands are necessary. This Poor People’s Moral Budget asks, given the resources of our society, whether these demands are also possible.

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Poor People’s Campaign Protesting Emergency Regulation In Frankfort Tuesday

The Kentucky Poor People’s Campaign is returning to the state capitol Tuesday to protest a new emergency regulation enacted by Governor Matt Bevin. The new rules require those wanting to assemble at a state building to submit an application ten days in advance of the event. Last summer the group held a series of statehouse protests in Frankfort and 40 other state capitals. Reverend Megan Huston, a pastor of First Christian Church in Bowling Green, participated in those protests last year and will be in Frankfort for the event Tuesday. “Lobbyists have no trouble getting into the capitol building but then you gather clergy and people living in poverty…

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Virginians Show The Real Face Of Poverty

On a recent night in Richmond, Virginia, speaker after speaker came forward to talk about the multidimensional reality of poverty. The setting was a hearing held by the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. “I’ve been working for years as a professional and I don’t earn a living wage,” said Joyce Barnes, a home health care worker based in Richmond. “It hurts. It hurts so much.” She described how she gets no sick days or vacation days, and can’t take a day off to spend with her grandchildren. She owes a hospital thousands of dollars for medical bills even though she now has insurance. “Don’t be fooled by a false narrative about us,” added Abbie Arevalo-Herrera…

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Why I Got Arrested This Summer (And You Should, Too)

In his famous essay “On Civil Disobedience,” Henry David Thoreau explained why he went to jail in 1846. He said he refused to pay taxes to a government that was pursuing the extension of slavery. To support such a government, Thoreau argued, was to be complicit in its worst deeds. With this essay, Thoreau helped inspire the modern tradition of civil disobedience, his footsteps followed by Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and many others. This summer, I joined that tradition by getting arrested for demonstrating without a permit at the United States Capitol — along with about 100 others from the Poor People’s Campaign, including Reverend William J. Barber II. The arrests were part of a larger wave of nonviolent civil disobedience over six weeks that resulted in about 2,500 arrests of clergy, activists, and poor people across 40 states and Washington, DC.

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Reflections On The Poor People’s Campaign; Returning After 50 Years

Fifty years have passed since I was a volunteer physician taking care of the PPC marchers who came across the country and the bridges into the District. They camped in the rain and mud to demonstrate the poverty deep in our “great” nation.

But, today while the PPC has had the same soaking rains, there was no mud. The thousands who came were met with a huge interlocking mat of white plastic. It was a thick, flexible barrier between us and the grassroots. The Park Service could take it up after the rally and march and there would be no mud and tracks of the PPC.

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Thousands Marching With Poor People’s Campaign Prevented From Entering Capitol Grounds

Thousands of people protesting systemic racism and poverty marched to the Capitol on Saturday but were barred from entering the grounds by U.S. Capitol Police. A long line of officers blocked the South Lawn and halted a march organized by the Poor People’s Campaign–a revival of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s movement 50 years ago—at the Capitol Reflecting Pool. Rev. William Barber and Rev. Jesse Jackson pressed police to allow them to proceed to the Capitol Lawn and conclude their march with the delivery of petitions demanding Congress allocate resources for the poor and struggling workers. U.S. Capitol Police Captain John Erickson, however, refused on the grounds that a large group needed a permit to demonstrate. An agreement was eventually worked out for petition boxes to be carried by individuals one at a time to the Capitol steps.

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“Stop The War! Feed The Poor!”: March By Poor People’s Campaign Ends With Arrests In DC

Organized by Rev. Drs. William Barber and Liz Theoharis, the movement takes inspiration from a campaign of the same name launched 50 years ago by Martin Luther King, Jr. Through a series of nationwide demonstrations in recent weeks, supporters have called for an immediate end to “systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation, and the nation’s distorted morality.” The focus of Thursday’s demonstration, Barber told a crowd through a bullhorn, was “policy violence against families and children,” which was only partly inspired by the Trump administration’s highly contentious family separation policy. “When we talk about policy violence, we mean snatching up not just children—brown children, because it wouldn’t be happening any other way—and putting them in cages, but we also are talking about cutting healthcare.

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How Rich Are The Ultra Rich?

Nearly seven years ago — I know, wow — the Occupy Wall Street movement began highlighting the divide between the top 1 percent and the bottom 99 percent. Since then, it’s become common knowledge that income inequality in the United States is high.

But there’s more to the story than just numbers.

Income inequality isn’t the defining social issue of our time because your neighbor bought a slightly bigger house or nicer car than you did. It’s because multi-millionaires and billionaires are competing for slightly bigger mega-yachts while our friends set up GoFundMe accounts to plead for help with basic medical expenses.

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Resurrection City II Evicted From Dupont Circle Park

U.S. Park Police and Metropolitan Police Department officers forced a protest encampment at Dupont Circle to disband Monday evening. The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign set up the camp, which they called Resurrection City II, on Saturday to bring attention to worsening conditions experienced by poor people and the homeless. They had obtained a permit from the National Park Service to be in the park until Wednesday.

Police began gathering on the outskirts of the park in the upscale neighborhood of Dupont Circle around 7:00 pm but gave no prior warning to organizers that they would soon evict them. No one was arrested, but police confiscated tents and bedding. About 40 people staying in the park, many of them veterans as well as homeless, took refuge at a nearby church on 16th Street.

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